Lewis CanCut has been on our radar for a while, and his latest project may be one of his most interesting yet. It sees him working with Hatsune Miku, a post-humanoid singer (?) from Japan, a fascinating evolutionary movement in dance and electronic music.
His Indoor Rainforest EP is set for release on November 24th via NLV Records and available for pre-order now. We recently sat down with the talented Australian producer to learn more. He also made us an exclusive mix!
Hi Lewis, thank you for talking with us! Congrats on your latest release! This saw you working with Japan's Hatsune Miku. What prompted you to work with the post-human starlet, and in terms of the technical process of collaborating, what did it actually entail/how was it different than working with a human singer/artist?
Thank you! I first saw Hatsune Miku in 2014 when I was in Tokyo attending a lecture by Tomita. Sadly Tomita recently passed away, he was really the founding father of electronic music in Japan during the 60s and prolific until the end of his life. His presentation included a piece he’d composed for Hatsune Miku and I was captivated by the sound. I love synthesizers, so synthesized voice immediately appealed to me.
In terms of writing for Hatsune Miku, it’s actually very much like writing for a human vocalist. Her voice has certain strengths and weaknesses, and so production is about complimenting her tone bringing out the best elements.
To go along with that, there's a lot of synth work reminiscent of some music from Japan. Do you find influence in the scene and what drew you to that style?
My brother lived in Japan for a long time so I was often there, and pop music is everywhere in Japan, on billboards, in arcades, restaurants etc. Then I discovered the production of Yasutaka Nakakta and became really interested what was going on there at the time. I think now though, Japanese pop is influencing music all over the world, more than ever before. When you look at the success of western artists like Sophie, Machinedrum and Slushii, they’re all drawing heavily on sounds you can trace back through time to groups like Perfume, Yellow Magic Orchestra and even Tomita.
Your musical range is impressive, and you have songs that are all over different musical genres. Who are your biggest influences, and who do you currently listen to?
I think DIY pop music has always appealed to me the most, like at the moment I’m enjoying a lot of latin freestyle from the 80s again. The stuff by Pretty Tony in particular. Like if you listen to his tracks with Debbie Deb, they’re so raw and she’s so out of tune, but at the same time they are profoundly beautiful pieces of music. That same DIY energy and positivity can be found in everywhere in soca, dancehall, azonto, shangaan, reggeaton, Jpop…
America is in a pretty dark place right now. Your songs, on the other hand, are incredibly happy. Which of your songs would be the best to crank up this weekend?
Yeah, it’s really dark. I feel heartbroken for so many people who will be affected directly. Like how does it feel to be a woman right now in America? The only thing I can really hold on to is that history has proven the USA to be a resilient place, capable of great kindness, and that’s still possible. To be honest, as an Australian I don’t know how my music fits into that picture at the moment, but if you’re having a house party this weekend I’d be honoured if Body Querty was on the playlist.
You've been involved with NLV Records since its inception. What drew you to the label?
From the beginning, Nina Las Vegas outlined such a strong vision for the label. You can hear that same vision in her DJ sets. People are often afraid to do new things in Australia, as if there’s a rulebook written somewhere at the bottom of the Atlantic, halfway between London and New York about what you’re allowed to do. So when Nina said she wanted to do a label focusing on pushing new sounds, I was so happy to be involved.
What can people expect from you in 2017?
I keep trying to work up the courage to email Debbie Deb about a collaboration, maybe I’ll finally do that.
Thanks Lewis! Pre-orders for the EP can be found here.
Magnetic Mag x Lewis Cancut tracklist:
01/ Lewis CanCut - Indoor Rainforest
02/ Lewis CanCut - Systems
03/ Swick & Lewis CanCut - Wishes Feat. Tkay Maidza
04/ Swick - Offside
05/ Murlo & Deadboy - I Swear (DJ Mix)
06/ Lewis CanCut - Body Querty
07/ SFIRE - Sfire 7
08/ Galen - ◉◉◉◉◉◉◉◉◉◉◉◉◉◉◉◉
09/ Jessy Lanza - VV Violence
10/ Murlo - Furnace
11/ Seiho - Plastic
12/ Nic Sarno - Mana Wasa
13/ Girl Unit - Queen B
14/ Trim - RPG
15/ Haroumi Honsono - Roochoo Jazz
16/ Mind Lotion - My Language
17/ Machinedrum - Colour Communicator
18/ Anderson Blood Armstrong - This Is De One (Murlo remix)
19/ Hataah - Marduk (Stas Remix)
20/ Mina - Body Good Riddim